Fighting corruption is one of the top priorities for Russia’s G20 Presidency
On April 25-26, 2013 the third Annual High-Level Anti-Corruption Conference for G20 Governments and Business was held in Paris. The event was organized within the framework of Russia's G20 presidency jointly with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and with the support of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
The conference participants list included the OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria, Chief of the Presidential Experts' Directorate and the Russian G20 Sherpa Ksenia Yudaeva, G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group co-chairs Dmitry Feoktistov and Barbara Martin, co-chairs of the Business 20 Task Force on Transparency and Anti-Corruption Andrei Bugrov and Futhi Mtoba, experts from OECD, UNODC and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), as well as the representatives of the G20 countries' governments, business and civil society.
The agenda focused on the G20 Leaders' commitments to join forces in the fight against corruption made during the 2012 Los Cabos Summit, and took notice of the results of the two previous conferences held in Paris (2011) and Puerto Vallarta (2012).
The main topics of the conference were fighting corruption during the organization of sport and other major events, the impact of corruption and anti-corruption reforms on economic growth and the use of the best practices in fighting corruption, also were discussed recommendations by the Business 20 for the G20 Leaders.
In line with the initiative of the Russian Presidency, the conference started with a series of roundtable discussions devoted to fighting corruption in sport. The participants discussed possible anti-corruption measures which can be applied on different stages of conducting of sporting events, including elimination of unfair competition in providing the right to conduct sporting events and fighting with "fixed matches".
As one of the possible steps in this direction the Russian delegation suggested establishing a Global Alliance for Clear Sport. The main task for the Alliance should be uniting the efforts of international organizations, government bodies, private sector, and civil society organizations implementing certain initiatives for fighting corruption during major sporting events.
Further work of the conference was framed in five sessions:
- Fighting corruption to foster growth;
- Carrots or Sticks? Balancing sanctions with incentives to promote clean business;
- Dealing with the challenge of bribery solicitation;
- Anti-corruption compliance for SME;
- Wrap-up: next steps for business and the G20.
In his welcoming address, the OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria said that fighting corruption requires from all the G20 countries joint efforts and teamwork: "Fighting corruption is not only a moral battle... This is one of those challenges that countries cannot fight on their own."
Yury Fedotov, Director of the UNODC, shares similar opinion. He reminded that the UN Convention against corruption had been adopted earlier and had already been ratified by many countries. "However, true success against corruption can only come if the provisions of the Convention are fully implemented in all countries that have ratified it", he added.
Summing up, the UNODC Director stresses the need to join forces of all countries in their anti-corruption battle. "Continued success," he noted, "will require global team effort. Business will not be able to cope with it on alone. It will need help of policymakers, civil society and mass media. I hope that you'll join us to help safeguard not just the world's sporting competitions, but also the trustworthy and transparent enterprises."
The Russian G20 Sherpa Ksenia Yudaeva reported in her address that G20 efforts in 2013 referring to fighting corruption focused on two directions. First is the implementation of the G20 2013-2014 Action Plan on fighting corruption. Its measures include further promoting the ratification of the UN Convention against Corruption by all the G20 members, combating bribery and solicitation, further enhancing international cooperation in the anti-corruption field, promoting integrity and accountability in the public sector, and ensuring the independence and effectiveness of institutions at the forefront of the fight against corruption.
The second direction of Russia's Presidency in this respect encompasses further research and analysis of best practices. In particular, it was suggested to prepare analytic materials on the impact of corruption and anti-corruption measures on economic growth, the best practices in fighting corruption during the organization of sporting, cultural and other major international events, as well as in cases of public property privatization.
The Russian Sherpa also informed the delegates of the specific anti-corruption measures that are currently being introduced in Russia. In particular, she pointed out a number of initiatives by the Russian Government adopted in early 2013, such as the Federal Law "on controlling public officials' spending", new measures to protect corruption whistleblowers, a new law on contractual system in public procurement, new legislation on regular rotation of certain categories of civil servants, and draft legislation on combating illegal financial operations.
According to Ksenia Yudaeva, "corruption is a kind of a tax on business that hinders its adequate development and investment growth. That is why combating corruption is one of the top priorities for the Russian Presidency, which focuses on economic growth and job creation."
Talking on the importance of merging efforts in fighting corruption, the Russian Sherpa noted that Russia has taken a number of specific steps to promote cooperation with the private sector in combating corruption as part of its G20 Presidency, including within the Outreach Strategy of the Russian Presidency, which was designed in a manner that allows for thorough examination, discussion of the recommendations put forward by social partners, and their transfer to the G20 decision-making level.
"Russia strictly monitors the actual implementation of the recommendations made in previous years," Ksenia Yudaeva said, "in order to ensure that the G20 makes a practical, rather than just a theoretical contribution to fighting corruption."
The key findings of the conference will be circulated for further discussion by the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group, and the Business 20 Task Force on Transparency and Anti-Corruption.